NASA reveals VEG-04 photobioreactor research for space agriculture

[Global] NASA astronaut Christina Koch tended plants and stored microalgae samples for a pair of biology studies investigating ways to support long-term missions farther away from Earth. The two-part VEG-04 study is researching space agriculture as a method to nourish future crews as NASA prepares to go to the Moon and beyond. Microalgae is being observed for the Photobioreactor experiment that aims to demonstrate a hybrid life support system.

Photobioreactor (PBR) Troubleshooting: As a continuation of the troubleshooting efforts, the crew replaced the power cable for the PBR. Although the PBR has been non-responsive for more than a week, ground team believes the algae contained in the system may still be viable. Currently, life support systems that sustain astronauts in space are based on physicochemical processes.

The PhotoBioreactor investigation aims at demonstrating that microalgae (i.e. biological processes) can be used together with existing systems to improve recycling of resources, creating a hybrid life support system. This hybrid approach could be helpful in future long-duration exploration missions, as it could reduce the amount of consumables required from Earth and will first be tested in space on the ISS.

 

Photo: Expedition 60 Flight Engineer Christina Koch of NASA playfully demonstrates how fluids behave in the weightless environment of microgravity aboard the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA – June 29, 2019)

 

View original article at: NASA reveals VEG-04 photobioreactor research for space agriculture

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